Harewood House: A Great Family Day Out

Family Visit to Harewood House, Yorkshire

There is much to see and do on a family day out at Harewood House, including exploring the Bird Garden and going a bit wild in the Adventure Playground.

For adults and older children, the House itself has much to offer. The contrast between the main above stairs rooms and the servants’ below stairs area is stark.

A tour of the House includes many fine state rooms with Robert Adam ceilings and Chippendale furniture. There is a profusion of fine paintings, particularly in The Gallery.

The Spanish Library contains many fine books, some dating back to the 16th Century, but in addition there were several items of Leeds United FC memorabilia. Apparently David Lascelles, the 8th Baron Harewood, is a keen fan.

A Digital House Guide downloadable on smart phones provided information about each room, although volunteers along the tour route provide extra nuggets of information. For example, they point out that the flowing curtains in the Gallery are actually made of pine wood!

The below stairs rooms include a Kitchen with brightly polished copper pans and bowls, a Pastry Room and a Still Room where jams were prepared.

The Housed tour ends at the Italianate Terrace, where afternoon teas are served, but probably the nearby Courtyard restaurant and Grab & Go stall are more suitable for family refreshments.

And then on to the Bird Garden with over 40 species of birds, including big birds like greater and lesser rheas and pink flamingos at the lake edge, and small brightly coloured birds like the blue & gold macaw and the palm cockatoo. Probably the antics of the Humboldt penguins in their pool are of most interest to younger children.

Nearby there is a small Farm Experience area featuring alpacas and pot-bellied pigs. Hygiene is emphasised in this area with several hand sanitation points.

The children’s reward for taking an interest in the House and wandering through the Bird Garden is to be let loose in the large Adventure Playground. If the family has enough energy after that, then there is a pleasant walk through the Himalayan Garden and around the lake to the Walled Garden, with a small ferry providing a short cut on the way back for flagging young ones.

Historic Houses Discount Offer

If you take up annual membership with Historic Houses, you will get free entry to Harewood House (once a year only), plus 300 other heritage sites. Enter our unique code TREX05 at ‘Add discount code’ and you will receive a £5 discount. This also applies if you wish to give annual membership as a gift.

See also: English Heritage v National Trust v Historic Houses: Best for families?